Backyard Wrestlers Beat Each Other Bloody

ByABC News via logo
November 20, 2002, 8:50 AM

Nov. 20 -- These backyard wrestlers are a long way from going pro, but say they entertain neighbors with matches that include choreographed violence and self-mutilation.

Backyard wrestlers James Hammock and Robert Ice, both of Las Vegas, say crowds of up to 200 people attend their matches. The three say they plan how the matches will go down, just as professionals do, for weeks before an event.

Local police say that wrestling between two mutually consenting opponents who are over 18 is legal in Nevada. But it is allegedly a far cry from good, clean fun, and officers have put the matches on ice while they investigate what goes on outside the ring.

Backyard Superstars

Hammock, 22, who goes by the name "Stoolie" in the ring, says his wrestling "league" doesn't charge admission because they love to put on the show.

"It is fun, and it's a rush for all of us to have 200 people screaming our names while we're doing this," Hammock said.

Hammock, a soft-spoken machinist at a tool and die shop, says his mother often attends his matches, although she doesn't approve and worries about the dangerous stunts he pulls.

"I've lit myself on fire and have scars from hurting myself," Hammock said.

But Hammock and the rest of his league will have to find another way to achieve that "rush" for awhile. Las Vegas police have just put their show on hiatus.

Side Shows

Lt. Vincent Cannito of the Las Vegas Police Department says the matches have been temporarily put on hold for what's been going on around the "ring." Cannito says attendees of the backyard shows can be seen doing some illegal activities on videotapes of the matches.

"You see kids involved," Cannito said. "We have some narcotics use and drinking possibly taking place," Cannito said. "So we have to take these crimes into consideration, as well."

Hammock and other match organizers, Ice, a.k.a "Rob Kong", and Clark, a.k.a "Howie D," who is an announcer, say those who are seen drinking on the tapes are of age, and they say it's not their job to take up parenting.